(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Xavier Becerra of California will serve as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus as the sole Latino leader among the party’s Congressional leadership.
Becerra is the second Latino to hold the position. Current Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) held the chairmanship during his time in the House of Representatives.
A vocal supporter of President Obama, Becerra has served as vice chair of the caucus. He represents a mostly-Hispanic district in Los Angeles, and serves as ranking member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security and as a member of the Committee on Ways and Means, which looks at the nation’s tax policy.
“I am honored by the trust that my colleagues have placed in me to serve as their Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus,” Becerra said in a statement after his election. “Working with a re-elected President Barack Obama, I know that our growing, diverse and united Caucus will be a driving force in the 113th Congress to protect and strengthen the middle class, create good paying jobs, and keep moving our country forward.”
Becerra joins Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (California), Whip Steny Hoyer (Maryland), Assistant Leader James Clyburn (South Carolina) and Vice Chairman Joseph Crowley (New York) on the leadership team.
The caucus, which meets weekly, develops party policy and legislative priorities. As chair, Becerra will have a significant role in shaping the party’s stance on various issues from the economy to immigration. He has previously advocated for passage of the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform.
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), a Latino rights organization, applauded the decision.
“Increased representation in party leadership is an important component of political participation in this country,” the organization wrote in a statement. “We applaud U.S. Rep. Becerra for being elected to this important position and look forward to continuing to work with him and the 113th Congress in the coming year.”
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